In an effort to eradicate mundane friendlies from international football, UEFA has announced that it plans on introducing a new international tournament called the Nations League.
Should the tournament, which will run alongside Euro 2020 qualifiers elevate the levels of fan interest in international breaks as intended, it could also serve to heighten the value of international breaks as a betting product. SBC’s Bookies’ Corner investigates whether this is is the case.
SBC: From a betting perspective, can the introduction of the UEFA Nations League tournament increase the popularity of international breaks?
Katie Baylis-( Head of PR – Betfair): Introducing a more competitive element to turn international ‘friendlies’ into more meaningful encounters seems a good move. However, as with the introduction of any new format or tournament, it will probably take time to build that tradition and fan interest.
That will probably be the case from a betting perspective as well and we may not see an increase in punters betting more regularly or staking larger sums than they would normally on friendlies for a few years. There will, of course, be an opportunity for people to bet on more markets that will become available with a format like this, such as overall winner and goalscorer markets and promotion/relegation, so it will be really interesting to see the impact from a betting perspective when it kicks off next year.
SBC: Alongside tournament expansions, can the Nations League tournament increase the interest in international football from countries that aren’t necessarily renowned for having overly successful national sides?
Lee Price – (Head of PR Paddy Power): I think the Nations League is bound to increase interest in international football, at the very least from the intrigue of it being something new. It also means another trophy for England to fail to challenge for. A lot will depend on how seriously the big teams – Spain, Germany, Italy – take the Nations League.
If they’re going hell for leather to win the thing, then maybe it’ll feel like a legitimately interesting tournament, of the ilk of an international Champions League. But then you’d have to worry about the point of future European Championships if that were the case.
And for the tourist boards of places like Dubai – who will no longer see the influx of superstar footballers, what with an international tournament taking place every summer.
SBC: The new international tournament, The Nations League will lead to ante-post markets such as outright winner and top league goalscorer for international breaks, can this make out of tournament international football more attractive as a betting product?
Alan Alger – (Head of Communications Betway): We tried to look into how the Nations League will work a few weeks back, but the info we got from UEFA site sort of contradicted itself.
It does look it will add a bit of competitiveness to the lower teams, but not sure the bigger teams will – or need to – take it seriously.
All will hopefully become clearer when the rankings are confirmed after the World Cup Playoff Fixtures. There seems to be some sort of draw also on the 24 January.